We don’t hit our children. While I don’t have any negative thoughts toward my parents for the occasional harmless swat to my diapered behind, we made the conscious decision that we didn’t want to hit our kids. When it comes to discipline, we try to get down on their level and speak to them in a clear voice. We empathize, we redirect. We try to reinforce positive behavior and we try to ignore negative behavior. We take away toys if the situation requires it. We institute time outs should there be the need. We give in, a lot. But, we’re trying.
My sons have baby dolls. We got them for their birthday last year. One of my son’s snack cups is pink. We read a book together that features two boy bunnies who want to hop together forever. We watch educational programming that reinforces, “in some ways we are different, but in so many ways, we are the same.” But I still worry that I will eventually pass down my prejudice and biases, subconscious or otherwise, to my sons. But I’m trying.
We bottle fed. My twins sleep in separate rooms. We limit screen-time. We feed them processed food. We use disposable diapers and wipes. We buy them used toys. We dress our twins alike. We roughhouse. I’m affectionate with my sons. I’m emotional around my sons. I’m not a man that my children will grow up saying “I never saw my Dad cry.” I’m addicted to social media and my phone. I’m not a perfect parent, but I’m trying.
It is incredibly easy to get lost in the abyss of parenting advice out there. There are books, online forums, well-meaning family members, and not to mention an army of condescending strangers just waiting to tell you the right way to parent. There will always be people out there telling you that you are raising your child wrong. I hope you know that you are doing it right. You’re not perfect, but you’re trying.